Aspire Pilot - Technical infrastructure

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This strand of The Aspire Pilot aims to put in place the technical infrastructure needed for Aspire. This will involve a system or systems that support:

  • dissemination of information about schome
  • communication and collaboration with and between members of the community in order to develop vision(s) of schome.

Details of the process of developing the technical infrastructure are set out (in reverse chronological order) in the schome techy bliki.

Collaboration tools

We are using the following tools to support collaboration within the project:

  • WikiWorks - used as a collaborative web-publication space - you are looking at it!
  • SMF - an open source discussion forum - check out the schome community forum which replaced our original discussion forum which was based on Ubiquitous D3E
  • Skype - audio (and video) over IP
  • Flashmeeting - a simple video conferencing tool
  • maillists - we currently have 2 seperate lists (one for each of the project sites)
  • The phone
  • email

We have dabbled with some other technologies - which we have decided don't do the job we need. These include:

  • The Knowledge Network - a collaborative workspace that provides threaded discussions, document upload/storage, webpages that can be edited through your browser (but lack a history function), great cross system/content searching.
  • Moodle - a virtual learning environment - this is probably overkill for our needs and we found it difficult to make it look like a community rather than a course (though that may have been due to the basic setup of the demo server we were using).
  • BSCW - a shared workspace system - we used this system extensively on an earlier project some years ago - at its heart is document management (upload/version control/access levels) - though it does now also include forums/blogs/polls/etc. Document management is not a core part of what we require - and we found the user interface quite difficult.
  • Ubiquitous D3E - an open source threaded discussion forum (it just never took off - we decided this was because of lack of 'presence'.

Useful links

Owen, M; Grant, L; Sayers, S. & Facer, K. (2006) Social software and learning: An opening education report from Futurelab. (viewed 5-Jun-2006)

Think of it's Web Conferencing Guide provides info about real-time conferencing, video conferencing, forum software, forum hosting services, collaborative work environments, etc..
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